I Will Never Be a Famous Director

02.13.2007 | 11:57 am

As those of you who keep track might remember, I got a couple of camcorders for Christmas:

  • My wife gave me a nice small camcorder that fits in a jersey pocket and records to SD cards. This camcorder also works as a good camera — all the pictures in yesterday’s post came from this camcorder/camera.
  • I got myself a very inexpensive (less than $100) camcorder meant to be used as either a helmet cam or a handlebar-mounted cam.

I took both of these with me to Gooseberry / Little Creek last weekend, hoping to try them out and see what I came up with.

Camcorder + Adobe Premiere + YouTube = Decent Video
So last night I cracked the seal on my copy of Adobe Premiere and loaded up the video from my good camcorder. It was easy, because all that video was already individual MPEG files on an SD card — so no importing or converting process necessary (my home computer even has an SD slot, so it was really easy to move the video over).

I bungled around for about half an hour before I figured out how to do anything at all (I used to write software documentation for a living, which has given me a healthy disdain for documentation of any kind), but after that I had a ball. As you can see in the YouTube video below, I got a little carried away with the transitions and the replays.


Yeah, it’s pretty clearly my first attempt at doing this kind of thing, but I liked it. The song, by the way, is “Fat and Proud,” By Steriogram, from their album Schmack (I highly recommend listening to their song, Walkie Talkie Man).

ATC-2000 + Handlebars + Rigid Bike = Unwatchable Mess
I never expected my little ATC-2000 camera to take truly beautiful video, which is a good thing, because it clearly does not. It takes jerky, washed out video. You’ll notice — if you’re brave enough to actually watch the clip below — I clearly have the camera pointing too far down. And mounting it on the handlebars was a big error (especially on a rigid bike). And the microphone is genuinely useless (it picks up nothing put wheel and wind noise).

I could go on, but instead I’ll just post one of the clips. I’m warning you, it’s not for the squeamish:


So, did anyone at all make it through a full minute of that?

I’m not, however, ready to give up on the ATC-2000. This was a first experiment, and I’ve learned what to do for the second experiment:

  1. Mount it on a helmet, using my head as a nice, steady, suspended tripod (finally, my head’s good for something!).
  2. Don’t point the camera down. My head will be tilted forward somewhat anyway; if I want the camera to catch anything besides the trail five feet ahead of me, I need to have the camera pointing up.
  3. Discard the audio portion of the recording and put some kind of soundtrack there in its place.

PS: Today’s weight: 167.8


  1. Comment by BIKEMIKE | 02.13.2007 | 12:12 pm

    If they ever film Blair Witch 3, you’re there dude.

  2. Comment by Argentius | 02.13.2007 | 12:22 pm


  3. Comment by Mrs. Coach | 02.13.2007 | 12:43 pm

    I actually made it through the whole video. Do I get a prize?

    I guess it could be due more to the fact that my computer is slow and the video kept pausing then my ability to keep vertigo under control.

    I love watching your video clips. It almost makes me think I could do that. But then I remember I’m a wimp.

  4. Comment by Lurch | 02.13.2007 | 1:15 pm

    Very interesting. First I thought it sounded like you were riding a hooved centipede. Later it sounded like you were underwater in a sub. Maybe you were on a strange planet that has water instead of air and were riding on a hooved centipede. In any case, I agree the helmet mount has got to be a better approach.
    Enjoyed it non-the-less.

  5. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 02.13.2007 | 1:30 pm


  6. Comment by allan | 02.13.2007 | 1:38 pm

    Nice vids. Sooooooooooooo..on a totally unrelated topic..does the new link mean there will be some Ergon product giveaway contests soon? That stuff is sweet. I love their Enduro grips.

  7. Comment by Bob | 02.13.2007 | 1:42 pm

    Excellent video. You may also want to crack open the Adobe After Effects box for transitions.

    By the way, how do you link to a specific entry?

  8. Comment by fatty | 02.13.2007 | 1:54 pm

    bob – you can link to a specific entry by clicking on the headline for that entry — that goes to a permanent url for that entry alone. in this case, the url is: ‘


    allan – jeff kerkove is sending me some bike grips to try out. based on the positive response others have had to the ergon link in the site, i’d say that yes, ergon will be hopefully joining the ads-for-schwag program sometime in 2007. no guarantee, but i’m hopeful.

    botched – just don’t do that in kenny’s FnJ.

    lurch – actually, all that noise is just the sound of my stomach rumbling.

    mrs coach – you should totally take up mountain biking.

    argentius – have you bought an mtb yet?

    bikemike – actually, i’m working on a script for blair witch 3. i call it, “Blair Witch 3: A New Beginning, And This Time It’s Even More Personal.” i think this movie will be a big success.

    everybody – you know, i was kinda hoping someone would pipe in and mention how much they enjoyed the music in that video.

  9. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 02.13.2007 | 2:02 pm

    FYI: Steeply discounted bike shorts on the REI add above. Go to the “super clearance sale”. Men’s Large only.

  10. Comment by Terri | 02.13.2007 | 2:45 pm

    Fatty, I live vicariously through MTB video. Having lasted through the entire second video, I no longer have any desire to try mountain biking…I’ll stick to the road.

  11. Comment by Mrs. Coach | 02.13.2007 | 3:08 pm

    Oh my gosh, what great music with your video!

  12. Comment by Anonymous | 02.13.2007 | 3:39 pm


    If Bob didn’t, by accident of course, take your bike home, and he is looking for a 29er SS he should check this out http://saltlakecity.craigslist.org/bik/278028397.html

  13. Comment by barry1021 | 02.13.2007 | 3:59 pm

    Here’s a shocker–we don’t have similar tastes in music. It was less annoying than the sound from your second vid, but only slightly less so. As to the audio of the ATC 2000; I always wondered what happened to my Donald Duck tape recorder from the sixties. Apparently the mike is now incorporated in your ATC 2000. It gives a whole new appreciation of the term “tinny”. The effect of the video and audio was interesting tho–the hooved centipede analogy was a good one. I would change that to the dancing centipede from the 1930’s cartoons with shoes on each foot. Say, am I giving my age away here?

  14. Comment by Desert Rat | 02.13.2007 | 4:14 pm

    I have the same cam… pretty much worthless even on the helmet (mount it to the back end for best view). It’s fun to play with but definitely want to upgrade.

  15. Comment by Uncadan8 | 02.13.2007 | 4:20 pm

    Whew! I am glad I took that dramamine before I watched the second vid! I can’t wait to see the bobblehead version.

  16. Comment by Token Skinny Guy | 02.13.2007 | 4:23 pm

    Asking if anyone made it through a full minute sounded like a dare, so I duly took up (and completed!) your challenge. However, before I watched any of it, I ate a peach. Use your imagination…

    Oh and by the way, the only people who like Steriogram are 14-year-old girls. And the music 14-year-old girls like is rubbish. Trust me on this. I come from the same country as Steriogram and so I’m (obviously) well qualified to comment on them.

  17. Comment by Born4Lycra | 02.13.2007 | 4:41 pm

    Forewarned is forearmed and having read the text and comments first, the handlebar cam video was not as bad as I expected. The music to the first video was worse than I expected altho I appreciate the relevance of the title of the song.

  18. Comment by MTB W | 02.13.2007 | 4:52 pm

    The first vid was great! Gotta love that slick rock and all the creative uses you can make of the various rock formations. Man, those are some tough moves, particularly the 7′ climb. You guys make the moves look so easy without showing the consequences of failure of almost, but not quite, reaching the top and falling backward (though Bob came close). Bob, thanks for making me feel better about all those times I fail a move (it happens a lot!). You certainly kept trying (wait, was it just being replayed?) Anyway, did Bob really butt heads with that tree?

    No need for comment on the second vid. Try it again on the helmet and let us know how it works. I like Desert Rat’s idea to mount on the back of the helmet so you can get video of the face of the guy behind you instead the butt of the guy in front of you (“not that there’s anything wrong with that”).

  19. Comment by Token Skinny Guy | 02.13.2007 | 4:56 pm

    You know, I hope no-one who reads this blog has a 14-year-old daughter. Actually, what I really hope is that no-one here is a 14-year-old girl. I can see the hate mail coming my way already…

  20. Comment by Jon | 02.13.2007 | 5:04 pm

    The best part of the 2nd video was that it look like you were always about to run into something or off something. “Where are you going? The trail is that way! Hey, HEY! Whew, you made it. Watch out for that bush! You going right off the cliff!”

    I think I liked the 2nd video better.

  21. Comment by Anonymous | 02.13.2007 | 5:43 pm

    the lude content, photos and comments from your last post, and the potential for innaproprite videos in this post has me worried about what kind of site this may turn into, can’t wait
    happy valentines day

  22. Comment by sans auto | 02.13.2007 | 6:22 pm

    Here’s what I like about staying on the road. If I were to mount that camera on my handlebars you would be able to see the distance I traveled and the direction I was going. It would still be bumpy considering the road between work and home, but there would be no heaving of the handlebars to go 2′ this way and 6″ that way. I point the handlebars where I want to go and I peddle. If I wanted an arm workout I’d buy a boat.

    Maybe I like staying on the road because it is the only way I can stay upright.

  23. Comment by Argentius | 02.13.2007 | 6:25 pm

    Fatty — No I haven’t, though I have been enjoying my cyclocross bike. I’m getting serious preparing for my biggest-deal road season ever, so I spent my cash for the moment on a power meter… seemed the more necessary part.

    I think I would want to try out some more mountain rides before I took the plunge into buying one, ya know?

    Maybe if I ever can get to Utah, or you are back up in Redmond, we can ride some cool courses both on and off the road and I can get hooked.

  24. Comment by Heffalump | 02.13.2007 | 11:22 pm

    That second video looked like it was taken from the point of view of a drunken alien who has not aclimated itself to our atmosphere or gravity, and yet insists upon chasing all the earthlings on their two wheeled vehicles around in circles. And strangely, it made me feel a little like a drunken alien.
    As for the first video. I think it made me quite afraid to ever try mountain biking. Did you have to shoot that first shot over the edge? I will stick to the road I think.

  25. Comment by T1mm0 | 02.14.2007 | 9:03 am

    My results of using the ATC2000 have been positive in the respect that the video is ok to watch (quality wise) but I’m still struggling to point the thing in the right direction on my helmet when MTB’ing. On the roadbike it was ok on the handlebars but quality suffers when you have a view of high contrast – for those interested… YouTube Video

  26. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 02.14.2007 | 10:18 am

    T1mm0 you guys are riding on the wrong side of the road! Don’t you know that’s very dangerous?! Tsk tsk tsk.

  27. Comment by Mrs. Coach | 02.14.2007 | 10:44 am

    BTW FC, love the new FOOD forum.

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